Child custody is usually one of the most difficult situations in family law. It is important to keep a child in a stable environment and in a routine that will work well for them. Parents are always concerned about the welfare of their children, which is why decisions on child custody and visitation are most important. In all child custody and visitation matters, the primary concern is the best interest of the child. In determining the best interest of the child, the court will consider several factors such as:
Factors for Child Custody
- Circumstances of the spouses
- Nature of the case
- Child preference depending on age
- Who has been the primary caretaker
- Existence of any domestic violence
- Parental desire to relocate
- Welfare of the Child
- Fitness of parents
- Parental resources
- Educational opportunities
- Religion of parents and child
- Written agreement(s)
In other words, the mother is not always awarded custody of the child. This means that there is no longer a presumption that a mother will be awarded custody, even in the case of infant children.
There are several different types of custody arrangements. Sole custody is the most common form of custody. In this situation, one parent, known as the custodial parent, is awarded sole custody of the child. The other parent, the noncustodial parent, has visitation. Again, the paramount consideration is the best interest of the child. Visitation is for the benefit of the child, and courts are generally generous in providing visitation awards for this reason. On the other hand, joint custody may involve joint legal custody, joint physical custody, or both. Joint legal custody means that each parent has the equal right to make decisions regarding the child. Joint physical custody is usually more liberal than standard visitation in which each parent has significant periods of physical custody. To avoid the uncertainty associated with the family court’s decision regarding custody, the parties also have the opportunity agree on custody and visitation prior to attending court. If the family court believes the agreement is reasonable and in the best interest of the child, then the agreement will usually be enforceable.
A modification of child custody or visitation may also be possible, but the party seeking the change has to show a substantial change occurring after the initial custody arrangement that affects the best interest and welfare of the child. Whether you are seeking child custody, visitation, or modification, it can be a difficult and time-consuming task. It is often frustrating and stressful when you are uncertain about you and your child’s future. Our West Palm Beach family law attorneys understand the emotional turmoil that this process can cause. We have years of experience in handling child custody and visitation matters and can provide you with the advice necessary to establish a fair arrangement for you and your child. We have child custody lawyers in West Palm Beach. If you or someone you know needs a custody attorney, contact The Law Offices of Nicole Nicolette at (561) 223-6545 to speak with one of our attorneys.
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